Thursday, November 3, 2011

Oktoberfest Party

I wanted to have a Halloween party, but because of some scheduling issues, that didn't work out.  So, I decided to have an Oktoberfest party instead.  I still got to get dressed up, decorate the house, and make a bunch of fun recipes!  Unfortunately, dressing in lederhosen made Kyle uncomfortable, and he said he won't be getting into costume for a while.  We'll see...!

Here's a link to the menu from this party: Oktoberfest Menu

I ordered both of our outfits online.  Mine is called the "Beer Wench", which was appropriate, since I was serving frosty beer to our guests all night!
I got a nice selection of German beers from an outlet liquor store and also printed out some information about the differences in German beers for the guests.  I purchased a bunch of beer stiens so that people could drink in true Oktoberfest style.
I decorated to make the dining room look like an outdoor beer garden.  It was easy to decorate for this party with fall colors, pumpkins and Indian corn, etc, which are readily available at the store at this time of year and quite affordable.
Here is a picture of a sad Bavarian peasant, waiting in the beer garden for the feast to begin.
Don't worry - he cheered up after a couple of tall steins and a few shots of J├Ągermeister!
 I printed out German toasts so that we could give each other a proper cheers (prost!).
The first dish I served was Bavarian Pretzels, which I learned how to make several months ago.  For this party, I made some with garlic and butter, and some with Parmesan, along with a cheese sauce.
Next, I made bacon wrapped dates stuffed with cream cheese and almonds.  I've made these stuffed with blue cheese before (also delicious) but these seemed more appropriate to the theme:  
 
Our friend Josh showed up in a funny (and somewhat scary) mask.  I didn't let on for at least 10 minutes that I had no idea who was under there!!  Secretly,  I was a little frightened.
I got plenty of Oktoberfest hats for the guests to wear, and Oktoberfest beads, and some assorted miniature instruments (kazoos, flutes, harmonicas) for people to play with.  And of course, a playlist of German folk music!  The CD I bought was actually called, "The Best of German Beer Drinking Music".  Talk about getting right to the point!
I also made fresh bread that day, which made the house smell great!  This is the recipe I used - No Knead Bread
The menu was a bit difficult to come up with, because most of the German dishes I found contained the same ingredients (bacon, apples, cheese, cabbage).  I tried to keep it traditional, but still be as creative as possible.  I served this soup as an appetizer.  Apple soup sounded odd to me, but it looked so pretty with the candied apples and fit the theme, so I thought I would give it a try.  It actually turned out to be quite tasty - savory and creamy.

There was a good turn out for the party.  In fact, there were enough people that three make-outs actually occurred - one in the beer garden!  Two of them were between couples, so only one was a new hook-up, but still...  As the party hostess, I think that's something to be proud of.  Even when I'm not the hostess, anytime there is a makeout, I am happy!  Here are a few fun pics of the party in action.
   
  

 
 
As one of the entrees, I served what I decided to call "The Largest Platter of Sausages on Earth".  Every type of German and Polish sausage I could find!  I was outside grilling them, in my beer wench outfit, and saw one of my neighbors.  He didn't say anything, but I'm sure he found it odd, that I was dressed as a beer wench, grilling ten pounds of sausages in the middle of the night!
 
 
There were enough men at the party that, believe it or not, pretty much the entire platter of sausages got eaten.  I also made sure to get a fine assortment of German mustards to go along with the meat.
 
I also cured a ham for the occasion, which sounds more difficult than it is.  I rubbed it down with a special nitric salt and a combination of honey and spices, and then smoked it for a few hours.

For sides, I served the traditional sauerkraut, braised red cabbage, and Warm German potato salad.
The German potato salad was a nice change of pace from the cold American style potato salads I'm used to.
I also made a specialty drink, The Drunken German, which was enjoyed by all.  Enjoyed so much that I ran out of a giant bottle J├Ągermeister!

Here is a lovely photo of Paul and I.  Doesn't he look angelic?
 
And then there was the dessert table.
I made a standard pumpkin pie, but in miniature graham cracker crusts, with white chocolate icing.
The cupcakes below were Devil's Food, with cream cheese icing, and some lovely Autumn sprinkles.
 And there was Pumpkin Walnut Fudge
And, of course, German Chocolate Cupcakes
As you can see, I went with an Autumn theme.  Finally, there was a dessert competition.  Yes, Kyle and I had a Stru-Deul.  You can read all about it here: Stru-Duel- A Match for the Ages
We hung signs around the house to get people hyped for the competition.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be more of a landslide than anything.  Here are a few photos of the smug winner.
 Looks like a real jerk, doesn't he?
 
This candle signifies my pain and sorrow over the loss of such an important challenge.  I may look happy in these photos, but I'm crying on the inside.
For now, I'm retiring my beer wench costume and my strudel making.  Until next October, anyway!

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